Planet Rugby

James scores on Bath debut

10th November 2007 16:48

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Pat Sanderson

Leader: Pat Sanderson crossed the whitewash in Romania

South African fly-half Butch James enjoyed a copy-book start to his Bath career by inspiring his side to a comfortable 28-6 Challenge Cup win against Auch in France on Saturday evening.

The World Cup-winning half-back settled quickly into the Bath number ten jersey, and his tackle-busting run in the 18th minute set his team on the way to victory in their Pool 1 opener at Stade Patrice Brocas.

His pinpoint cross-kick then put back row Andrew Beattie in for an easy try.

Olly Barkley chipped in with 11 points, but Auch did not help themselves as hooker Nicolas Sentous and winger Raphael Bastide were both sin-binned early in the second half.

Bath then duly extended their lead with a penalty try but were unable to chalk up a bonus point in arguably the tournament's easiest pool.

Elsewhere, Worcester Warriors opened their European campaign with a hard-fought 18-8 victory over Bucuresti at the Arcul de Triumf stadium in the Romanian capital on Saturday.

Tries from captain Pat Sanderson and wing Marcel Garvey and seven points from the boot of Loki Crichton cancelled out a try and a penalty from Bucuresti fly-half Dan Dumbrava.

It was Sanderson who scored the match-winning try on 45 minutes, after Dumbrava had given Mike Ruddock's men a scare with a try on the stroke of half-time to cancel out Marcel Garvey's opener.

After a nightmare Guinness Premiership start to their coaching stint at Sixways, Grand Slam-winning coach Ruddock and assistant Clive Griffiths were happy to leave Romania with the Pool Two points.

Griffiths said: "We're pleased with the result, because of the conditions.

"It was freezing, and the pitch was waterlogged. It was a case of getting the job done and getting out of here.

"That's now two wins out of our last two games, and we hope to take that into our game with Montauban next week.

"Although they never really tested us, we had to ensure we kept going for the full 80 minutes - and I thought we acquitted ourselves really well in difficult circumstances, and the tries were decent.

"It was a good passage of play from the backs to put Marcel in, and then Pat's try was set up from a brilliant drive by the forwards."

In Italy, home side Overmach Rugby Parma crashed to a surprise 28-23 loss to French minnows Albi in Pool 1.

Parma led 13-6 at the break, but Albi wing Patrice Serre scored two second-half tries as the French went to the top of a pool likely to be dominated by Bath.

Meanwhile, Mathew Tait continued his World Cup form as Newcastle ran in 11 tries to beat Spanish minnows Cetransa 71-10 at Pepe Rojo Stadium in Pool Three.

The England star broke the Cetransa defensive line virtually every time he touched the ball, and his equally talented 19-year-old brother Alex bagged a hat-trick with an impressive display of speed and support.

It took the Falcons only three minutes to open the scoring - winger Ollie Phillips with the first of his three tries - and they had secured their bonus point by half-time.

The Spanish amateurs began to wilt in the afternoon sun, and Newcastle ran in seven tries in a one-sided second half as they repeated the exact same scoreline from the last time these two sides met.

Cetransa's moment of glory came just after half-time when number eight and Spanish Test captain Ivan Criado powered over from a well-worked quick line-out.

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